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I was thinking it had been a while since I’d done a books post, and indeed it has. It was nine books ago, in fact-good lord!
here we go... )
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While starting to write a post about the books I've read recently, I noticed that the last 6 books that I've read (plus the one I'm about to finish) have all been non-fiction! Huh. I never used to read much non-fiction, but I guess I've been on a kick. But I definitely need to read a good and groovy novel next. But which one? How to choose?

I'm going to treat myself and actually buy one tomorrow (payday!) rather than get one from the library; this way I can get a trade paperback rather than having to lug around a big library hardcover.

So. Book people--here is my shortlist, based on things I've been wanting to read (that we actually have in stock). What should I read?

a)The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenger

b)The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

c)Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

d)You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon

e)Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

f)A Boy of Amazing Breeding by Miriam Toews

g) Something else entirely-see my (your) comments!


Help! Advise! Recommend!
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Ok, let’s see where I left off in writing about books. I was in Mexico, and-oh yes, had just finished all the books I had brought with me. Oh no! So I started borrowing books from the people around me, starting with:

blah de blah de books )
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Books! Oy vey, I’m way behind on writing about the books I’ve been reading. Let’s see where I left off...

The Line of Beauty -Alan Hollinghurst

I liked this a lot--it’s about a young British gay man, a self-proclaimed ‘aesthete’, who is living with a friend’s family (the friend’s father is a Conservative MP in the Thatcher government). It’s about sex, class, politics, and 80’s London, and, after a bit of a slow start, was very cool and interesting.

In Her Shoes -Jennifer Weiner

This was my first beach read in Mexico-it was very fun and fluffy and enjoyable. Now I kind of want to see the movie, even though I’ve heard it’s not very good.

Lady Oracle -Margaret Atwood (re-read)

This has always been one of my favourite Atwood’s-I’m not sure why, I just really like it. I thought it would be a fun read for the beach, and it was great to revisit it. It kind of makes me want to fake my own death and move to Italy.

Spoken Here:Travels Among Threatened Languages -Mark Abley

I picked this book up at my store’s book fair, and it’s totally cool and excellent. The author travelled around to remote (and not so remote) areas of the world to find languages that are about to die out. There are some that have only a handful of elderly speakers left, and then others that are putting up a fight by trying to get younger people to learn them. I love reading about things like this-how languages evolve and change, all that stuff--totally fascinating. If I could go back in time, I’d totally take some linguistics courses at university. Maybe I still should.

Island of the Sequined Love Nun -Christopher Moore

I hadn’t read this before, so I picked it up, thinking it would be a fun beach read. And it was! Moore is so incredibly nuts. Hooray! Tucker Case is a great character, as is, of course, Roberto T. Fruitbat. I’m very excited that Moore has a new book coming out. I can’t wait!

Picasso at the Lapin Agile and other plays -Steve Martin (re-read)

I’d read these plays ages ago, but thought I’d read them again (mostly ‘cause it’s a thin book and fit in my suitcase). Very cool stuff. There are a few good audition monologues I’ll keep in mind.


More to come...

Books!

Jan. 15th, 2006 11:22 pm
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I thought I’d try to make a point of writing about the books I read this year, even if just a bit. Who knows how long it’ll last.

Anyway, my first four books of 2006:

I Have Chosen To Stay And Fight -Margaret Cho

I love me some Margaret Cho. This was good-I would say more political and less, well, funny, than her first book. A lot of the entries are from her blog, I believe. She rocks.

The Baron In The Trees -Italo Calvino

This was lent to me by [livejournal.com profile] angharad and it was great! It’s about a young 18th century nobleman who has a fight with his family, climbs a tree, and never comes down again--ever! Beautifully written. Originally in Italian-if only I could read Italian, I bet the original language is even more gorgeous.

Job Hopper:The Checkered Career of a Down-Marker Dilettante -Ayun Halliday

Did I relate to this book, about the various soul-sucking jobs one often ends up in when one’s passion and vocation is the theatre? Oh yes, yes I did. Funny and true. Oy. Hilarious. Depressing. There is hope, though-she eventually escaped the cycle of bad jobs by becoming a massage therapist, and then marrying someone who went on to write Urinetown and make a few bucks.

Blink:The Power of Thinking Without Thinking -Malcolm Gladwell

Interesting book about how snap judgements can often be as good as more deliberately made decisions. He talks about everything from the Pepsi Challenge to researchers who can predict the success rate of a marriage based on a two minute conversation, to the fascinating Implicit Association Test (check it out--really interesting: www.implicit.harvard.edu). It’s a quick and thought-provoking read. I noticed at the store that someone has come out with a rebuttal book, called Think:Why Crucial Decisions Can’t Be Made In The Blink Of An Eye. Huh.
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Oh, the nerdy fun of calculating what I’ve read and seen this year.

BOOKS

Total read:61
Fiction:37
-29 novels
-5 books of short stories
-3 plays
-1 book of poetry
Nonfiction:24
(I started to divide the nonfiction into categories, but it hurt my head. Some memoirs, pop culture essays, coupla self-helpy, and...other stuff.)
Rereads:2 (that’s it? huh.)

Too hard to chose favourites, but if forced (and really, I’m only forced by myself):
-favourite fiction: All This Heavenly Glory (Crane), Passage (Willis), Bee Season (Goldberg).
-favourite nonfiction: Under The Banner of Heaven (Krakauer), Killing Yourself To Live (Klosterman, aka my boyfriend), The Polysyllabic Spree (Hornby).


MOVIES

Seen in theatre:23
Seen on DVD:76, not including rewatches (oh the heady days of the cruise ship, where all I did in my free time was watch movies)

Favourites in theatre: Brokeback Mountain, Rent, Crash
Favourites on DVD (oh god, how to choose?): Angels in America, State and Main, Grey Gardens, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.


LIVE THEATRE

Total seen:7 (not enough!)

Musicals:3
Plays:3
Other:1 (Bernadette!)

Favourites: Bernadette (!), Into The Woods (Stratford), A Little Night Music (Vancouver Playhouse)


Well, that was fun. Let’s see what 2006 has to offer!
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My local library always has a cart of books for sale, for $0.50 each-what a deal! Up until today, there has never been anything on it that has interested me, but this morning I picked up 4 books--yay, cheap books!

So, for $2, I got: The Handmaid's Tale, The Edible Woman (which it turns out I already own, whoops), Flowers For Algernon (which I've always meant to read) and Beware The Fish (I've been meaning to start rereading some Korman!)

There were also several others on the cart I was contemplating, but only had $2 cash, so had to limit myself.

I must remember to check that cart out more often!
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Dudes! I justthisminute finished reading a book that I have enjoyed more than any in recent memory. You must all go read this book right now. Seriously, go put it on hold at the library, I’ll wait.

If it weren't still in hardcover I would buy it for everyone I know for Christmas.

Oh, I guess I should tell you what it is.

It’s a book of short stories (not usually my favourite thing-don’t let that scare you!) that are all about one main character, jumping around through her life, from age 8 to 40. It is funny, playful, engaging and written in this absolutely ridiculous style that reminded me of how I would want to write if one day I woke up and were a writer, if that makes any sense. About 412 times while reading it, I said to myself, “Omigod, I must go post this sentence on LJ”, or “Omigod, [livejournal.com profile] listersgirl (especially, but really, all of you) must read this book right now and then we must talk about it!!!”

If you don’t like it, we probably can’t be friends. Sorry.

That said, if the thought of, for instance, a story told in the form of a personal ad that is one glorious, insane, topsy-turvy,10 page (!) run-on sentence makes you a little nauseous rather than excited, so be it. I understand. But really, try it anyway, pleeeeease?

Then come talk to me about which parts were your favourites.

Here’s one brief bit (although it’s hard to pick out a *brief* bit when some sentences are 10 pages long), chosen pretty much at random, to whet your appetite... )

Ok, not really brief, but it’s late at night and I looooved this book so much, I couldn’t help it. I am going to go to bed right now to avoid subjecting you to many more bits.

I’m done now.
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I really don't read much poetry, but I read a blurb somewhere about this book of poetry, and the name of it totally caught my eye: What Narcissism Means To Me. Love! So, I got it out of the library, and, you know what, I really liked it!

It's a collection of poems by American poet Tony Hoagland-most of the poems are quite conversational in tone, often funny, and not so extremely dense and obscure and poem-y that I had no idea what they were about. I liked that.

A seasonal excerpt, from "Reasons To Survive November":


November like a train wreck-
as if a locomotive made of cold
had hurtled out of Canada
and crashed into a million trees,
flaming the leaves, setting the woods on fire.


I love that imagery!

oh, and a couple more, just for kicks )

In conclusion, yay poetry!
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